Iceland

June-July 2017

Game of Thrones

Bus Tour with Reykjavik Excursions to original filming locations of GAME OF THRONES

The producers of the tv show GAME OF THRONES chose some of Icelands beautiful and rugged landscapes to provided the locations for filming scenes for The North of Westeros. 
The two photos above (with white frames) show the location where they filmed the fight scene between The Hound Sandor Clegane and Brienne of Tarth.

Laugavegur Trail

Backpacking from Landmannalaugar to Porthmörk

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Day 1

From Landmannalaugar to Hrafntinnusker

Day 1: Hiking from Landmannalaugar to Hrafntinnusker. A total of 12 km that day. At least the last 2 km across a vast snowfield. I am lucky to get a bed at the hut at Hrafntinnusker. Lucky, because the campground is still covered with snow. Staying in the hut cost 8000 ISK (Prices as of June 2017).

The spectacularly colourful mountains around Landmannalaugar are rhyolite volcanic rock. The colours vary from brown, pale red, yellow and even greenish hues.


There were several specteculare fumarole fields along the trail.
(Click on image to the left, to start video - 0:14mins)


Day 2

From Hrafntinnusker to Alftavatn

Another 12 km hike from Hrafntinnusker to the campground at the Alftavatn lake. Again, the first 2 km hiking across the vast snowfield. At Harafntinnusker the Laugavegur Trail reaches its highest point at 1050 meters altitude.


A lot of commercially guided groups are staying at the huts too. Often they are accompanied by supply vehicles, which transport provisions, gear and extra luggage for their guests. The guests only have to carry small daypacks from hut to hut.

Of course, as I and other backpackers shoulder our heavy packs, I look at them in utter contempt. Weaklings!

As they are leaving, the heavy-duty off-road trucks struggle to climb the snowfield. 

(Click on image on the right, to start video - 0:53 mins)


The campground at Alftavatn is very large and beautifully located between a lake and mountains.

Alftavatn campground

No camping permits required. I made no reservations for any of the campgrounds and always got a space to set up my tent.
The campground at Alftavatn was particulare spacious. It wasn't as brutally overcrowded as the campground at Landmannalaugar. The campground at Landmannalaugar was still accessible by vehicles and thus drew a large crowd of tourists. Once campsites are no longer accessible by vehicles the vehicles-crowd gets weeded out and camping will be much quiter and a lot more pleasant.
Campgrounds along the Laugavegur trail cost 2000 ISK per person/night (Prices as of June 2017)

Day 3

From Alftavatn to Hvanngil

Relatively short day hike of 3.8 km, to Hvanngil campground. Most hikers pass this small, but beautifully located campground by. 
I couldn't resisit to stop here and stay over night. Especially since I got to set up my tent in the former herders hut. It's a campsite like out of a fantasy novel. Just my thing.


The next morning. My camp inside the old herders hut. There was a little bit rain during the night, but my tent was dry again before I broke camp. Heating water on my stove to brew some tea.
(Click on image on the left, to start video - 0:39 mins)


Day 4

From Hvanngil to Botnar

Maelifellsandur. Black lava sand desert.

It's a 12 km hike from Hvanngil to the next campground at Botnar. 

For many hours I hike across a desert made of black lava sand. This vast plain is known as Maelifellsandur. In the distance volcanos rise out of the barren flat like green islands out of a black sea. Stark, yet captivating in its monotony.

The ground changes from compacted gravel into loose sand. With each step the boots sink deep into the sand and walking becomes strenous.

Only few, very hardy plants can survive the harsh conditions in this black desert.

 

When strong winds blow aross this wide open plain, there is nothing to stop them. The wind raises the fine black sand to veritable dust storms and it's best to have some protective glasses or goggles, to shield the eyes from the sharp volcanic sand.

Day 5

The evil looking mountain. I bet there are dragons living in that hole.

   

The fifth day is my last day on the Laugavegur Trail. 14.5 km from Botnar to Husadaluh. I stay a last night at the campground of the volcano huts.
First thing I do in the restaurant is to pounce like a tiger onto a cup of coffee and a slice of apple cake. 

From Botnar to Husadaluh/Thorsmörk

The slippery path down to the bridge across the canyon of the Syori-Emstrua.
(Click on the image to the left to start video - 0:54 mins)


Traveling Southern Iceland

Skogar, Skaftfell, Vatnajökull-National Park, Vik, Jökulsarlon

Skogafoss

The name Skogafoss translates as Forest Falls. Legend has it, that the frst settlers hid a treasure behind the waters curtain.

(Click on image to the left, to start video - 0:30 mins)


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